i2 Swiss Internet and Intranet Summit

I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at the i2 Summit in Zürich last week and I have to say the quality of the event was excellent. I had a really interesting day and that’s always something to write home about!

My first highlight was meeting Tim Walters from the Digital Clarity Group again. Tim and I worked together on the kick-off  workshop for a large SharePoint digital workplace project (which was actually presented later in the day) and it was great to see him again. Tim is a great presenter and his zombie stories were not only entertaining but really landed the message:

Things are getting faster, you don’t have time to change slowly anymore.

The day continued with a number of very interesting intranet case studies at different levels of development along the transformation to the true digital workplace.

It was nice to see so many people using our very own Infocentric maturity model to position their work and it is noticeable how many people have made significant steps forward in the last 2 years.

Infocentric digital workplace Maturity Model

Especially noteworthy was the excellent presentation from Dave Shepherd from Barclays Bank, not only the presentation style and delivery but also the great work at digital transformation within what would outwardly seem to be a very traditional institution. Search for “Digital Eagles” and you’ll see a whole lot on Dave’s sterling work.

My takeout from the presentations was very much that we are no longer talking about just content but more importantly context and there is a real understanding that enabling people is the way forward.

Enabling people of course means not only your staff, but also your customers and I’m always a little disappointed when I hear that we think this is a new idea. We talk a lot about increasingly demanding customers and yes, there is a piece that says customers are now more fickle but we shouldn’t forget that the basic human requirements for good service, good product, good prices and good clarity are the things that kept us going to the same corner shop for years. Only when the storekeeper went on holiday and put a useless temp in charge, did we TRY the guy down the road…and liked it… The same is partly true of the web, make the experience count and deliver on your promises and good things can happen.

My word of the conference, ‘Digital-Vegetarians’, we’ve all met some of these and our job has to be keeping these guys nourished. Despite the acceleration in the digital transformation, a lot of intranet managers are still fighting to get the necessary management attention and commitment. I believe a large part of my job for the next few years will be helping those managers to pick the right cases and battles and to bring real value to the business without impacting on the shareholders dividend payments. It is possible, we just need to think differently, the ‘Tofu Digital Workplace’ may well be required.